Internal audit and external audit are two types of auditing processes that organizations conduct to ensure that their financial and operational procedures are compliant with regulations and best practices. While both internal and external audits share similarities, there are some key differences between them that organizations need to understand to use them effectively.
Let’s explore key differences between internal and external audits.
· Purpose and Scope:
The primary difference between internal and external audits is their purpose and scope. The internal audit focuses on evaluating the effectiveness of the organization’s internal control systems and risk management processes.
On the other hand, an external audit focuses on providing an independent and objective opinion on the organization’s financial statements.
· Reporting Line:
The internal audit function reports to the audit committee or board of directors.
The external auditor reports directly to the shareholders or owners of the organization.
Internal audit is conducted regularly, usually annually or bi-annually.
An external audit is conducted once a year, per statutory requirements.
Internal audit primarily focuses on internal controls, compliance and operational risks.
The external audit focuses on financial statements, fraud, and the accuracy of financial information.
Internal audit is a function within the organization, which means that it may be subject to management pressure or influence.
The external audit is conducted by an independent auditor who is not an employee of the organization, ensuring their independence.